HELIX Environmental Planning Headquarters Landscape Conversion Receives SITES Certification for Sustainable Landscapes
The HELIX Headquarters Landscape Conversion joins a select group of projects certified under the national Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) program for sustainable land planning, design, construction and maintenance.
The HELIX Headquarters Landscape Conversion was awarded a 1-star rating by the SITES program led by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the United States Botanic Garden and the American Society of Landscape Architects. The program has established best practices and performance-based benchmarks for developing and rating landscapes that have utilized sustainable design elements. The HELIX Headquarters Landscape Conversion is one of the final 12 projects in 20 states to be certified using the pilot 2009 SITES guidelines. As such, the project helped test the rigorous, scientifically based content that led to the SITES v2 Rating System and Reference Guide.
Achieving certification with the SITES 2009 Rating System meant the HELIX Headquarters Landscape Conversion had to fulfill 15 prerequisites, such as having an integrated approach to how landscape architects, engineers and others approached development of a site. The project was then awarded one to four stars based on 51 potential credits, with points awarded for performance in credited areas such as the initial site selection, water, soil, vegetation, materials, human health and well-being, construction and maintenance.
The HELIX Landscape Conversion project, located at HELIX’s headquarters at 7578 El Cajon Blvd. in La Mesa, California was designed by HELIX’s own in-house landscape architecture team and constructed by HELIX Environmental Construction Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HELIX that specializes in native habitat restoration. This ¾-acre site was designed to reflect the company’s commitment to the environment and employee well-being using a sustainable, aesthetically-pleasing, meditative, and functional outdoor space.
“We are pleased to be among those taking a lead in applying the SITES rating system to enhance the environmental, social and economic aspects of our projects,” said R. Brad Lewis, ASLA, LEED AP, HELIX’s Landscape Architecture Group Manager, who led the landscape architecture for the project. “This certification is evidence of our commitment to the environment and to our communities.”
Among the specific sustainable design benchmarks met by the HELIX Landscape Conversion Project were:
- 90% of the rainwater falling on the site is collected and reused through features including a de-siltation box
- 85% reduction in outdoor water usage within the first year and improvement of existing soil, by removing lawn and traditional ornamental landscaping and replacing it with native plants
- An outdoor space designed that supports numerous activities and promotes the health and wellbeing of employees and guests.
Project team members include:
- Client: HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc.
- Lead Project Team Member: R. Brad Lewis, ASLA, LEED® AP BD+C (HELIX)
- Project Team Members (Landscape Architecture): Kevin S. Mock, ASLA and Kathleen Brand, ASLA (HELIX)
- Other Project Team Members (Landscape Contractor): Justin Fischbeck and Zach Goedker (HELIX Environmental Construction Group)
The SITES program staff has been working for seven years in conjunction with a diverse group of stakeholder organizations to transform land development and management practices with a comprehensive, voluntary national rating system for sustainable landscapes. The guidelines apply to any type of designed landscape, with or without buildings, including shopping malls, streetscapes, subdivisions, corporate and academic campuses, transportation corridors, parks and single-family homes.
The 46 total certified pilot projects informed the June 2014 release of the SITES v2 Rating System and Reference Guide. Negotiations are under way with the Green Building Certification Institute to provide project certification to the requirements of the SITES v2 Rating System and a related professional credentialing program.
SITES Media Contacts
Barbra Rodriguez, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512.232.0105; Lee Clippard, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, email@example.com, 512.232.0104. Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELIX Media Contact
Tiffany Thomson, Senior Marketing Manager, email@example.com, 619.462.1515
About HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc.
HELIX is a leader in environmental planning and natural resource sustainability. Established in 1991 and with offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Riverside counties, HELIX provides a broad range of environmental consulting and design services throughout California and the western United States. HELIX has extensive experience helping public and private clients comply with environmental laws and regulations, manage natural and cultural resources, and design and construct sustainable projects. Our wholly-owned subsidiary, HELIX Environmental Construction Group, specializes in habitat restoration and the installation and maintenance of native habitat.